Steven Gerrard has been sacked as manager of Aston Villa.
The club’s decision was announced shortly after Gerrard’s side suffered a comprehensive 3-0 defeat against Fulham at Craven Cottage – Villa’s sixth defeat in just 11 Premier League games.
A statement released after the match read: Aston Villa Football Club can confirm that Head Coach Steven Gerrard has left the club with immediate effect.
A club spokesman said: “We would like to thank Steven for his hard work and commitment and wish him well for the future.”
The former Liverpool midfielder replaced Dean Smith at Villa Park on November 11, 2021 and lasted less than a year before he became the fourth top-flight manager to lose his job so far this season, following Scott Parker, Thomas Tuchel and Bruno Lage.
Gerrard admitted he was in a “very difficult position” straight after Villa’s hefty loss in south west London.
The former Rangers manager insisted he would not quit his role but was shortly given no choice in the matter as Villa’s board acted swiftly to remove him.
Former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino and ex-Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel have reportedly been linked with the role, but whether either man could be enticed to Villa Park remains to be seen.
“I’ve been sending messages to the fans for the last few weeks because I certainly share their frustration and their pain,” said Gerrard in his post-match press conference.
“I’m someone who is honest. I know that they’re not enjoying it at the moment – I’m certainly not – so we’ll see what happens moving forward. But you know and I know I’m in a very difficult position right now.
“The performance was miles away from what I want, expect and stand for. I understand the fans’ frustration and it was so far from how we looked at the weekend. We’re in this situation, I’m in it to face the tough questions because the reality is it’s not good enough for the club.
“Those decisions are out of my control. I have been around the game a long time, I understand the situation and won’t sugarcoat the situation or give anyone false lines. I want to be as honest as I can.
“We’ll see what happens moving forwards. But football is in my DNA and quitting is certainly not, so we’ll see what happens moving forwards.”
Sky Sports’ Dan Sansom:
It was another dismal day for Steven Gerrard. A wretched performance and result against Fulham at Craven Cottage left Aston Villa hovering above the relegation zone on goals scored. Barely 90 minutes after the final whistle, they confirmed their head coach’s departure.
You got the feeling this was always a must-win fixture for Gerrard, who was already under pressure having seen his team lose five of their opening 10 games this season.
Harrison Reed’s fine strike, Aleksandar Mitrovic’s penalty and a Tyrone Mings own goal gave Fulham a deserved 3-0 victory, but Villa were poor throughout and their night was summed up when Douglas Luiz was sent off for a petulant headbutt in the second half.
There were loud boos from the travelling fans at half-time and full-time, while chants of ‘Steven Gerrard, get out of our club’ sent a clear and damning message to the Villa board.
“You know and I know I’m in a difficult position right now,” the 42-year-old said in his post-match press conference. And so it proved.
Villa’s wait for a first win since September 16 continues. They will now have a new man in the dugout when the next one eventually arrives.
Analysis: Writing on the wall for Gerrard after latest backwards step
Sky Sports’ Ron Walker at Craven Cottage:
“Tell me your game plan hasn’t worked without telling me. Steven Gerrard made one change at Fulham from the encouraging defeat by Chelsea on Sunday, bringing in Jan Bednarek for Matty Cash. Forty-five minutes into this nightmare evening at Craven Cottage, he swapped them back over.
“It was a striking example of a night where Gerrard’s set-up unravelled. But in the end, so too did his spell at Villa Park after a defeat which begged one too many questions about where his often rudderless squad were heading.
“Villa have lost key figures to injury but that does not explain their rot, losing six of their 11 league games in 2022/23. They had enough about them to produce everything but the final ball against Chelsea on Sunday. At Fulham, they struggled to get out of their own half for long periods.
“Neither is their poor form a recent problem. Villa have won two of their 11 games this season, and two of their final 11 games in the last campaign, with Gerrard often clearly struggling to define the style or formation of his admittedly unbalanced squad.
“Gerrard’s mood inside what turned out to be his final press conference had a feeling that he was resigned to his fate – the manager himself would not quit, but even he could not bring himself to explain why he was the man to turn things around.
“Clearly it was not a question Christian Purslow or the Villa board could answer either. By the time the team coach departed Craven Cottage, Gerrard’s future had been sealed.
“The man lauded for his incredible unbeaten season at Rangers only 17 months ago was left to ponder his next move, with his stock considerably lower at the end of a notably underwhelming spell.”
Rodgers: Gerrard sacking bitterly disappointing
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers, speaking after the Foxes’ 2-0 win over Leeds:
“Bitterly disappointed. He did a fantastic job at Rangers, I’d assume Villa’s ambitions are to be in a European spot. Stability and patience is running out in football.
“Really, really disappointed for him. I think with patience he would’ve got them where he wanted.”
Former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is the current market leader with Sky Bet, who are offering odds of 5/4 for the Argentine to take over from Gerrard.
QPR boss Michael Beale – who turned down the Wolves job earlier on Thursday – follows at 4/1, with Brentford head coach Thomas Frank (8/1), Sean Dyche (10/1) Unai Emery (12/1) and Rafa Benitez (18/1) next.
Brentford (H) – October 23, 2pm
Newcastle (A) – October 29, 3pm
Manchester United (H) – November 6, 2pm
Manchester United (A) – November 10, 8pm – Carabao Cup third round
Brighton (A) – November 13, 2pm